Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wait..do you hear Me?


Wait, My precious child I have great purpose for you, only good for your life pours out of Me. How can I show you any more than I already have to trust in Me? I have always been here with you and yet at times you push away and then shout out to Me in a desperate screech, "Where are you Father"?! Why do you do this to yourself? Fall into My arms and let Me catch you like each grain of sand caught in the power of a wave. I am in control, stop fighting, let go, release the pseudo power the world convinces you, you have. You don't. I will show you. If I have to bring you back in close to me, I will. I will hurt as you hurt, as you painfully struggle to do things on your own, your way. It won't work. I won't allow it, because you are Mine, My creation, My child, and you need Me


I never let you go but I will give you freedom to pull away. My light follows you hoping to save you from the darkness that fights to consume you. I'll always knock ever so gently on the door to your heart, creating openings for you to hear Me, see Me, want Me. I whisper in your tiny, closed off ears. My sound is found in the wind, in the sun, in the stars, in humanity, in the rain, in emotions, and in every form of creation you could dream of. Hear Me? If you don't, then unclog your heart of the venom that has slowly seeped in, hardening the soft place in you I created just for ME to fill. That is My home in you, nothing can fill it but Me. Don't allow yourself to be numb to Me, distracted, and unfocused. I can give you more with My love than any distraction, addiction, control, temporary fix, person, or thing in the world gives. Allow Me to hold you in my arms grasping you so perfectly so you may experience My everlasting, unconditional love, My grace that I give freely to you, and My peace that transcends all understanding. Accept Me, I'm revealing Myself, I always have, choose to trust My plan, receive My love and treasure it


I'm showing you, you don't need to plan your entire life, I already have. Walk with Me and each step will faithfully appear in front of your toes as you press down your foot in belief. Let you worries, your fears, your plans, and your concerns drift off into a cloud above you, and rest now, you are being taken care of. I have the answers, the peace, and your protection in My Mighty hands. Your will sends you in directions that lead you astray, it only takes longer for you to find your way back. Give it up. Picture yourself floating, so free, the chains filled with worry and the thorns full of fear are suddenly gone. Surrender. I always bring you back to the answer you discovered last time, S u r r e n d e r. Do you hear?


 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fragile Security?

One of our basic needs as human beings is security.  Most of us will do almost anything to feel secure.  Security can be financial, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.  Think about it..whatever goals you have set out for in life, the underlying motivation for most aspirations is security.  Whether we want a big home or a fancy car, or simply basic needs that can fit into a small back pack, or one day having a big family, or even no kids, deep down within us is the need for our lives to not go to "crap".  Yes, everyone's idea of a "crappy" life is different, but we all long for security to have and keep the things we think we need and want.  
A lot of us are determined to find security.  Whatever it looks like or however we think we can get there.  For some this may come in the knowledge of having a place to call home, or having someone to care for them all the days of their life, loving them and committing to them for forever through "marriage".  The problem is, eventually our money, possessions, knowledge, and relationships fail or will be gone.  Houses can burn down, children drift away from their parents, marriages may fail, people pass away, and some may loose their jobs, generally far too many things are not in our control and can come along and wreck those things we once found all of our sense of "security" in.
We eventually learn to not place our security in things or in people.  Only God can give us lasting security.  What have you, yourself trust in for security?  And how long lasting is it?  How many times do we need to feel like everything is taken from us, like we are doomed to death without the one thing we thought we had security in?  When it is gone, stolen, and you feel robbed in life, then what
My answer is, it is there where we find Jesus.  He is our only constant.  He is our rock.  He never leaves our side, He is always with us.  We cannot say that about our parents, they will die one day and we will be left without them.  We cannot say that about our spouse, they too will pass away, let us down, hurt us, or leave us.  Our children grow up and move out and begin their own families.  We all age and lose our physical "beauty" that some us may use as our security, the one thing we've always had and always leaned on.  Money, cars, houses, clothes, pets, belongings..all can be taken away.  Jesus is still here.  He always is, and was.
"What he trusts in is fragile; what he relies on is a spider's web.  He leans on his web, but it gives way; he clings to it, but it does not hold up" - This scripture from the book of Job demonstrates a beautiful picture we can think back to in those moments when we question putting our trust, faith, and security in things, belongings, and in people.  This can be a reminder to look to God, the only One who is not too fragile to lean into.  
                                                       

Thursday, October 20, 2011

To My Equal


A Dream in Reality


 Taylor, my boyfriend, can be quite the "dreamer" and I'd classify myself as the "realistic, grounded one". People often say, "He is weak where she is strong. And she is weak where he is strong". Even the bible preludes to the importance of this. 

My boyfriend dreams big and beautiful dreams! I dream small reaslitic day to day, "how am I going to get from A to B to C" type things. I like to get things done and check them off my list every day hour. He likes to work on a bigger scale, doing a little bit of this, a little bit of that each day towards all sorts of big dreams. You see, we are limited apart yet, extremely successful together. He dreams a big vivid dream and I sort out the details of 'step-by-step how to get there', realistically, one thing at a time. It works. We are able to accomplished far more together than on our own. If we don't team up, he spends hour after hour starting something and not finishing it. I, on the other hand, spend hour after hour getting things done but not moving outside of my comfortable little box called "routine", aka "SECURITY". So he gets me out of my box and I help him get organized. We learn from each other and now I can dream a little bigger and he can, well, no, I'd be kidding myself if I finished that sentence. He's still not organized. ( ; But he does try to be.  That is just one example of how great it is to have a compatible partner.

When God created man and woman, He created them to complement each other. He indicated this when He says in the bible, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make a helper suitable for him" (Genesis 2:18). God formed woman to round out man's incompleteness, so that physically, socially, emotionally, intellectually, and even spiritually, male and female would not be rivals, but mates...teammates.

It facinates me how God creates two people with the perfect balance. And by perfect I don't mean we are perfect all the time, but He allows just enough challenge to enter in and offer an opportunity for growth. You see, He knows those two people have the "perfect balance" of strengths to get through it together in those areas of weakness..with Jesus of course. It is the special combination of each other's weaknesses and strengths that creates equality and appreciation in a relationship. Recognizing you both need one another, two are greater than one. You become a team, working with each other, united, so when one falls, the other is there to help pick them up. This balance is unique especially in marriage when two become one. Two people are joined together, taking on all of the other persons "stuff"..meaning strengths, weaknesses, baggage, and all. This is important to consider and evaluate before taking the next step to be seriously committed to one another and to each other's "stuff" FOR LIFE
Taylor, I am one blessed babe to get to walk life with you and thank you for making me always feel like I'm the better half of this team. ( ; wink wink.


                                   

Monday, October 3, 2011

Best of The Hand


  We don't know the way life is going to go. We don't know the way this next hour, minute, or upcoming second will go. We cannot continue to believe that we are in control of our lives and everything that happens to us. There comes a point when we become aware that their must be something greater than us out there..a creator, who IS in control. We come to a place, when we are ready, where we learn to surrender. We recognize we are powerless and need to remind ourselves to "let go and let God". This is the moment we find freedom from our chains, whatever the chains may be that bind you personally.
There are a lot of problems with this place. There are too many people struggling with too many issues to count. We are aware that we live in a fallen world, leading to a divided nation, a torn apart community, a broken family, and a troubled soul lost in despair. Today my heart breaks for those who are battling addiction. Specifically drug and alcohol addiction. This is an issue I hold so close to me.
  

 My aching heart really began when I was 16 years old. I was just beginning to drive and hanging around people from other high schools. My eyes were open exposed to kids my own age, my peers, who were using drugs. My morals, my instincts, and my gut told me this wasn't right. Why were these "children" using? I found that most of them had inner termoil, pain deep within, haunting them, hurting them, and causing them to find any possible way to cope with what they were feeling. Their goal was..not to FEEL. To be numb to any pain that ever tormented them, or to be lost in a world other than reality.


 

One day I was so bothered and confused I opened an old journal and decided to write to God. I asked him every question I had weighing heavy on my heart.."Why are some people born into broken families, with fathers who are alcoholics, mothers that have abandoned them, abused them, neglected them, or babies born without limbs, with mental and physical disabilities..etc, etc, etc.. and others are born into homes with supportive parents, unconditional love, great examples, and fulfilling healthy relationships?". I didn't understand, I so badly wanted to. I came to a conclusion. I made a promise to my Lord:
 "I'm so thankful for the blessing you have provided me with, with my health and with my family. I know now in my heart I'm meant to do something with these gifts you've given me. I want to counsel and help others who are less fortunate and give back everything that I've been given, this is my promise to You". I didn't know what that meant or what that would look like.

  Fast forward 7 years and I'm an MFT, a therapist, or in other words, I am a counselor. So let's go back a few years...I gratuated the year after I wrote my promise to God in my journal. I was accepted into Pepperdine University and within 4 years I graduated with a BA in Sociology, not really knowing just yet what God had in store for me. In my last semester at Pepperdine I met the man of my dreams, you know the one I always blog about, my one, "my one and only". I shared with him what I felt that God wanted me to do, my purpose in life. I started applying to grad schools and was accepted at the California School of Psychology, Alliant University. I was scared, my brain was filled with doubt and fear but my boyfriend encouraged me, telling me, "Tess, you are meant to do this, you've told me you knew this is what God wanted for you since the day we met". I knew he was right and I knew it was right. We lived happily ever after. 


Okay, so I'm lying. This journey hasn't been all roses and daisies. I found that the man I was in love with, yep that one, was still struggling with addiction and hadn't fully received the recovery and healing he needed like I'd thought. I knew his past history of drug use, he was honest with me from the get go. He shared he was a 'recovering heroin addict who had been sober off of everything for a while'. I didn't know much about drugs at that point. I was na├»ve. Drinking went to abusing pills that he convinced himself were "harmless because if the Dr. Prescribed them then they must be, right?"  Wrong.  There was so much God was trying to teach me then.  Everything is different now but I'll save the story of how he found sobriety and a healthy life for another time.  For this particular share, my focus is on how Gods hand was at work all through out this story


  We don't know the cards that will be dealt to us but we can make the best of the hand we are given. I have a heart for people in need, Jesus gave me that heart, its a gift. He grew a curiosity in me leading me to college where I began my journey of studying people and their behavior. He then led this amazing man into my life whom had an addiction that I thought had been worked through, but hadn't completely. At that point He opened the door for me to study psychology and get my Masters. He knew I'd have an extra push and urge to help idividuals and families struggling if I myself was going through it first hand with my boyfriend and his family. Gods timing is perfect. We need to learn to trust Him and surrender. I learned I'm not in control of all that I thought I was. I too, am powerless over the effects of alcohol and drugs. I can't change anyone, they have to do the work themselves. I learned this and I live this. And now, because of Jesus' perfect plan, I get to share my story, experiences, and suggestions with others in counseling.
 

  God truly brings beauty from ashes. My boyfriend is sober and we are so happy together. We both aspire to help people in need, and the greatest part about it is, we get to do it in entirely different ways with the gifts God has given each of us AND together as a couple. I can look back at that dark cloud that hovered over trying to surround us, and I see how God's light was right above it, piercing through shining bright right onto us and into my heart. 



 I want to thank God for this journey thus far. I want to praise Him for the strength He gave Taylor and I to perservere and for carrying our relationship through the struggles we faced. I want to worship and sing on the top of my lungs, a love song that expresses how grateful I am for the life He has given us. I want to show Him I mean these words by using the gifts He graced me with and by helping people find the healing that Taylor and I found in our lives together and individually.
My hope in sharing any of this is that our story, Taylor's story, or my story will help one of you reading this. You may be hurting over a loved one's addiction, or you, yourself are battling substance abuse or some other painful issue..I pray for you to keep hope, faith, and trust in God. He has a plan for each of us, He knows what we need, and He has our best interest at heart. Walk with Him and accept the peace He brings, peace that transcends all understanding.

  
"For I know the plans I have for you, "declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".- Jeremiah 29:11

                                                      



Thursday, September 29, 2011

Side by Side

He leaned over and gently let the postcard fall into my hand. I eagerly rushed to bring it to my eyes and see what was there. It read:
"I love you
In you hat...
I love you for your beautiful soul
I love you because you wake me up for church
I love you because its "Taylor Gang or Die"
I love you because your my soul mate
I love you because you put the music in my heart, you are the soundtrack to my day, I love you in every way!!".
(His words written on a blank church postcard, bordered with the script, "...encourage one another daily..." Hebrews 3:13)
It was one of those normal Sunday mornings where you can always find the two of us side by side, sitting in church. You know those sort of spontaneous thoughts that flood your mind and make you think about how wonderful that person is next to you? That moment when you turn and see them listening intently to the sermon and you realized how you love that stare and that brain that soaks up information like a sponge. This is how I picture what's going on inside his head when he thinks to himself, "I love her", "I love her because...","I should tell her".  Okay, so maybe just maybe it doesn't go the way this way, the way I dream it went or the way it suddenly pops up in my own mind and makes me feel giddy and eager to spill my guts to him.. HOWEVER, who cares what sparked the thought, his words simply fill my heart to the brim.
I know him well, so well that I know when he does special little things to reveal his love like this, he's doing it because he knows what it means to me, better yet, he knows how much it means to me. I've always heard people say, "its the thought that counts". And it really is. He must have thought, "I love her..and I should tell her because I know she'd love to hear it, and because she'd love to hear it, she'd be happy, and when she's happy, I'm happy because I love her". So, like I mentioned before, maybe his thoughts didn't go exactly this way but I think subconsciously there's a quick but detailed process that occurs and gives us an idea. And that idea is what's so special. 

I have been thinking, I wonder how long it would take for me to write every adoring reason I love him? Don't worry, you didn't get suckered into reading a 10 x 10 FOOT novel. I'm not going to write out every reason because at least 3/4's of the reasons I love him I could never put into words perfect enough or detailed enough to fully express what I truly feel. So I will simply share a few of the reasons why I love him today:
I love...
How you drool when you sleep, it gives off a very innocent look and reminds me of how you must have been as a little boy.
How you pull me close when we are both in REM sleep, I don't know how you do it or if its possible but you do.
How you ask to play with my hair...who asks to do someone a service? Its usually asked for. And I love it.
How in the morning you have no ability to be serious.
How you have a new adorable and silly name to call me every day, sometimes every hour.
How you always get food on your face.. or on your clothes. 
How you do things that I would normally think are disturbing or gross, but since its you, it just makes me giggle.
How your vocabulary is abnormal and ridiculous.
How you love music and love sharing it with others.
How you treat me sweet, every waking hour.
How you desire to always protect me and you always stand by my side.
Your HUGE heart for God.
Your BIG heart for your family, me, and my family.
Your COMPASSIONATE heart for others. 
How you are so kind and tender and sensitive.
How you listen and how you always give the right suggestions.
How you are encouraging and supportive no matter what my little butt is getting into.
How you make me smile all throughout the day with memories of you that you've left behind stored in my brain bank.
How you fill me with love and joy with texts all day long.
How you share your faith with others and especially with me.
How you love to pray with me morning and night.
How you take pride in bettering yourself daily.
How you are always so willing to work on yourself if you think there is something that needs change.
How you know your life's purpose.
How you care so much for me.
How you are attentive and gentle with me and my feelings.
How you know me SO well, more than anyone else.
How you can calm me, speak truth into me, and keep me grounded.
How you motivate me to better myself.
How you try to be healthy mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually one day at a time.
How you cherish every minute we spend together.
How you help me to not get ahead of myself.
How we share each others dreams and dream new ones up together on the daily.
How you aren't afraid to be honest, open, and transparent.
How you are vulnerable and intimate with me in the most purest form.
How you are considerate of myself and others more than I've ever experienced.
Your humor and your ability to always make my abs hurt with laughter.
How you are easy going and a go-with-the-flow-type-of-guy.
How you are understanding.
How you are courteous.
How you help others, at times even ahead of yourself.
How you are SUCH A LIGHT IN MY LIFE.
How you have shown me the greatest blessing and gift of love.
How you share everything with me, especially your life.
That you are my own personal angel that God sent, to spend our lives together, being voyagers, journeying side by side.

Thank you for the constant reminder every day that I open my devotional and see that postcard, I know your love, I appreciate our love, and I thank Jesus for this gift.

                                                          

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Music Man


I have always loved music.  When I say love, I mean that I absolutely melt inside when I hear a good tune.  I don’t know how anyone else feels when they listen to a song but I know what happens to me.. when the melody first hits my ears, my stomach tightens, my neck grows a little bit longer, chills flood the entire surface of my body, and whatever mood i was previously in has changed to an entirely new experience.  I get in the groove and find myself sucked into the speakers.  Sometimes its the lyrics, other times its the drums, guitar, the song as a whole, or just the voice of the singer that reaches my core and sends shivers up my spine.  Because of my love for music I have been to my fair share of shows, from hardcore bands, no namers, to Janet Jackson to Brittany Spears. You name it, I’ve loved it all and listened to it all.  At some point my love for music extended into my love for singers.  Theres something about a man singing on stage in front of a room full of people that draws me in.  Possibly its the vulnerability in  exposing one’s voice that makes it so appealing.  Maybe its the fantasy or the character they turn into while performing.  Quite possibly its the courage it takes to belt out a tune, write your own song, and fearlessly share it with thousands of critics.  I don’t necessarily know what it is, but its a gift to listen to and its beautiful.
In college we once had a speaker come share on “how to find your match”.  I remember sitting in my seat, shivering cold, listening intently for something, at least one thing that could come out of this lady’s mouth that might possibly interest me.  To my surprise she shared something truly valuable. She told us to write a list. 
“This list will have three columns.  In each column you will be thinking about things that you value, things that are important to you, your family, and for your future.  You will be thinking about the man that will possess the qualities that you need and are searching for in partner, a lover, and a best friend.  In the first column I want you to write all the ‘things’ he HAS to have, no if, ands, or buts.  In the second column write in all the ‘things’ you would really really like him to have.  In the third column write in all of the ‘things’ you would absolutely love for him to have if you lived in a perfect world and could have every wish come true, but he doesn’t have to have these, it would just be extra nice if he did”.
The story the lady shared was so profound that i went straight home and wrote my list.  This list included every detail I could possibly think of for what I wanted in the person who would eventually become my husband one day.  The first column included things like, “he MUST be a believer in Jesus Christ, he MUST love my family, he MUST be close with his family and love them if they are still alive, he MUST be smart, he MUST be outgoing, he MUST like to have fun..etc etc”.  The second column included things like, “I would love it if he liked to exercise”, I would love if he enjoyed watching movies, I would love it if he was romantic, I would love it if he wants to have at least 3 kids, I would love it if he loves music, I would love it if he has good hygiene..etc etc”.  The third column listed things like, “It would be nice if he came from a big family also”, it would be nice if he plays sports, it would be nice if he enjoys food like i do, it would be nice if he was a singer..etc etc”.
Did you catch that?! I enjoy watching singers and listening to people make music enough so that I decided to add it to the list of my dream man.  Fast forward 2 years and I met my dream man.  He possessed every quality on my list of dreaminess, singer included.  In fact, he surpassed the list I created.  He showed me the man that God created for me, the man that I truly yearned for.  A man endowed with qualities I never knew I needed or ever wanted.  He helps me remember that God hold’s the plan for our lives and I see this every day when I look at my beloved music man.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

When I can't hear you, its ME.

I know I have your promise that ‘your sheep will hear YOUR voice’.  I think the problem is, sometimes i feel like i am one of those sheep who is deaf to his Shepherd.  So many distractions and little things get in the way of me listening for You.  Sometimes my head and ears are overwhelmingly overflowing with doubt to the point that there is no room for hearing You.  I feel not only deaf but I go blind and suddenly I’m left wondering around completely vulnerable, an easy target for sin and temptation.  It’s such a silly place to be in because I know that I am the one that created this handicap.  You are always with me and have assured me you are present at all times.  So this feeling that I am all alone is me listening to doubt.  I go over and over it in my journal, “Lord, why cant I hear you”, “Jesus, help me to feel you, to see you, to believe and overcome any disbelief about you”, “fill me up with your holy spirit”, “open my heart to understand and receive what you’ve always offered me”.  All these words, but where is the action?  I can feel it only for so long before I finally get a kick in the ass and make myself FIGURE-IT-OUT.  I figure myself out.  
So what do I do?  I do something different then what I am currently doing that is NOT working.  I go back to the basics, back to the simplicity of having a relationship with Jesus.  I spend time with Him and carry out what I know He has taught me.  I open my bible and start listening again. I learn to be still again.  I learn to tune out the world and all of my tiny itty bitty distractions that had become giant blocks inhibiting my greatest relationship.  I learn to focus in on what is important by quieting my mind, my thoughts, and my emotions and concentrating on hearing God’s.  He speaks to us through the most beautiful and unexpected ways.  We all want the LOUD BOOMING VOICE OF GOD but sometimes it just doesn’t occur in the way we expect it to.  Some ways that I find he gets His message to me is through spontaneous thoughts, visions, feelings, and impressions.  It’s that thought that all the sudden pops up in your head when your driving and you think, “I need to pray for Molly”.  I believe it’s God telling me to pray.  It’s that spur-of-the-moment thought that lights up in our minds.  Another way he speaks to me is while listening to music.  If I am silent and I open myself up for unhibited flow, I feel Him speaking to me in an entirely different way, sending chills down my spine.  He also does this while I desperately close my eyes and pray, sharing all that’s buried deep within my heart and suddenly a vision emerges.  Sometimes a vision may come so easily that I am tempted to reject it and throw it aside thinking it is just me.  But it’s Jesus.  I see this through my writing.  I journal my prayers and see us having a conversation, him and I, back and forth.  What we experience on a daily basis is him speaking to us and teaching us through our circumstances.  He talks to us LOUD and clear.  His presence is everywhere and in everything, because He is always present with us, so how do we not see Him?  Well, like I struggle with, its me getting in the way of Him.


                                There is beauty in the breakdown of the treasure found in His voice.




Thursday, September 1, 2011

I don't ever want to forget.


       These words will stick with me because I don’t ever want to forget.  The place I’m in right now in life is so nerve-wrecking, anxiety provoking, and stress inducing, and yet at the same time its exhilarating, faith-building, and full of God’s glorious wonders happening right before my eyes.  I feel as though I have been called to a position to counsel people who are in the midst of struggles, pain, and suffering.  I know my calling is to be used as God’s instrument to help others find truth, freedom, healing, and His all-surpassing love.  He has brought me to a venue where i can live out my purpose and shine His light into people’s lives, into the darkest places that no other power, person, or thing can touch.  These deep, painful holes that torture people day after day and keep them chained up bounded by their secrets, isolated in their brokenness, and lying on the floor curled up in a ball trying to hide from it; that darkness, it needs His light.  I have found so much joy and honor to sit with people, just like myself, and normalize the pain, the questions, the confusion, and help them find peace.  To discover one’s passion, one’s story, one’s purpose for all the pain they’ve kept inside burrowing deep within creating deeper holes that eat away at their being; well nothing is more liberating than finding meaning for it all.  I have the second best view as I watch along side the Lord and see what He is doing in another human being’s life.  His very hands at work, like a surgeon strategically and carefully cutting away at the old damaged pieces of us and reconstructing new, beautiful, healthy ones.  What a vision, what a miracle, what a job!  I will work anywhere He wants me, and as i do i know i will find fulfillment in it because thats His promise.  He will meet our every need.  He has and He does and He will.  
So, I find myself questioning and doubting His promise at times?  Why, must I give in to the world, give in to the temptation of worrying and obsessing on “the unknown”?  Well, this is because I’m human, I’m broken, I’m flawed.  I won’t always keep my eyes on Him, but I can try my best to.  I can give my best shot every day to live for my Father and follow His Will patiently and trustingly.  And when I don’t, when I become distracted, fall short, or backslide, thats okay, because He knows I’m imperfect AND He knows my heart.  He knows I want to know it all, have it all planned, and sometimes I try to control everything myself instead of surrendering to Him.  He knows that sometimes I get ahead of myself, that sometimes I think I know whats best for my life more than He does.  He laughs at myself with me.  He shows me that being human is difficult and He understands.  And all along He shows me compassion, love, and grace and leads me back to the straight and narrow..right back to Him, to the light.
This is my reminder, when I feel overwhelmed, burdened, and/or stressed, I will remember that He has a plan far greater than any plan I could create for my life.  I will remind myself that these moments where I am working for barely any income, that these were the times when I was closest to Him.  I find myself leaning further and further into Him daily because of the place I’m in.  I need Him, I need His direction, guidance, and comfort.  I need His assurance that He has my back.  I draw closer and closer to Him for strength, encouragement, and answers.  I pray on my knees for my clients, for my fellow employees, for our business, for my walk with the Lord, for my family, for my friends, for my future husband and his passions and purpose, and for myself that i never ever forget these tough times that show me how much I need God. 




Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Where Did The Paris Nights Go?


    I've been thinking lately, there is no doubt about it..I am insanely, truly, madly, deeply, passionately IN love. No, as a matter of fact, not as of late, but always. I always have this thought, "I am so in love with you", as I sit and think about him. I am constantly thanking the Lord for the gift He's given us in this relationship. Daily I think of ways to tell him, show him, and insure he knows and feels loved and valued by me. He has mastered every way to reveal his love for me and taught me by example how to reciprocate that. It is mind boggling that others around us, such as strangers, family, and friends see the way we 'love' and find it to be an extra special kind of love? "Special".."Yes", however isn't their significant other deemed just as special to them? "Extra?" That's the word that throws me. If you've been given a partner, someone to hold, cherish, love, someone to walk life with, laugh with, grow old with, and invest yourself into, don't you appreciate that gift above all else? Is your job more important, is your appearance, are your friends, or how much money you make all more important than that person who sticks by your side loving you through it all? The person who will be there when you loose your job, when you start to age and loose your "ideal" appearance, when friends break your trust or find families of their own, and when the money dries up and your left with empty pockets but a filled heart. Isnt that special person worth the "extra" effort? Imagine the kind of respect and relationship you'd have with each other if you spent more time showing that special "one" that you love, care, and appreciate them, just them

    No matter the ups and downs, distance, time that flies by, or how many days you've already loved on them and poured your heart into them, every bit of love you share is worth it. Every smile you create just by loving someone is priceless. What does is take to do something "extra" for the one who loves you more than anyone else. Whatever happened to warm summer nights draped in your man's arms spending time just being? What happend to flowers on your nightstand and a home cooked meal just because "I love you"? Whatever happened to holding hands past the "honeymoon phase" as if you are 16 year old kids giddy over each other? Because afterall, aren't we? "What would I do without you?". I want to hold you like I never want to let you go, kiss you like its our first and last, and look into your eyes and know I'm safe with my special guy who remembers to hold on for a moment longer and embrace each time we touch.

     If it weren't for my "extra special" guy, I don't know if I would remember how important it is to show love daily.  He is the secret to the sauce.  I never knew what it felt like to have a truly romantic night out in Paris before him.  He is someone who is definitely and most certainly full of love to give, and before him I would have never known I was the same.  I think maybe we all have this love bottled up deep inside and it's sitting there waiting to blossom into something beautiful.  If only we could reach down within and water those beautiful pieces of us so one summer night they could bloom and stay bloomed.  Its as though, each time we love, our bouquet [heart] is watered giving us even more love to give.  Now that I've learned of this love, I feel as though it is pouring out of me in every direction for all people, its up to them if they want to accept it or reject it. I am so thankful for the people in my life that receive love openly with grateful hearts and extend love out to others.  It all starts with a little seed that is planted and each encounter can either grow that seed or stunt it.  

    If you know anything about Jesus He IS love.  I believe we are called to love others through Him to show them Christ's love and thats exactly what Taylor does every day.  I know that the Lord used him to reach my heart and show me a different way then I was going.  I have no words to explain how amazing God's love is and how grateful I am that He revealed His love for me through such a special person. So, I suppose he is "extra special".  After all, the Lord is the core of our relationship, He is our center and any love that we have for each other is because of Him and Him alone.  We both know that Jesus is our rock, He is the foundation of "us".  Thus, we have learned to treat each other as a gift that God has given us to love and embrace.  Remembering everyday to see one another as an undeserved gift from God, creates what some would call an "extra special" kind of love.  

           Now then, you may see why, every night together feels like Paris.

                            

Here now, making lemonade.


Hi self, this is for you.
    Happy birthday, another year of life has begun! In 24 years you're the happiest you've ever been, you know yourself more than you ever have, you find comfort in your own skin, and your finally standing in your feet right where you are. Welcome to the good life, the full life, the life not of this world but IN this world. You know yourself and there is no way you'd be where you are today at 24 without the struggles, leaps, heaps of crud and confusion, shipwrecks, and tiny tears, no, PUDDLES Gods allowed you to cry. 

    In the midst of those painful moments in childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood you were not only broken, but blind. You didn't understand, couldn't comprehend, or even fathom why a God, YOUR God, so loving and beautiful, would allow you to hurt the ways we often do walking through life. It took 20-something years for you to figure out your struggles, our brokenness, our imperfections, and insecurities bring us closer to our Father, YOUR Father. We find that we need Him. You NEED Him. You're not God, nor do you ever think you could be, but if we were perfect, if life was perfect, we wouldn't need God. You want to need Him. You know you can lean, trust, and depend on Him and you're safe. No matter the circumstances, trial, or storm, Tessa can be content knowing He has a bigger plan for her, one much better than she could ever dream up for herself. Its a matter of finding this in the midst of our sufferring and learning to s u r r e n d e r. Surrender, a term that is so often used, heard, and thrown out loosely, its meaning completely robbed from the original intent. To surrender, to let go, stop fighting, and die to your old self, release the reigns, admit to yourself that you are not completely in control of life; that you need Him to the very core, you recognize you were created with a place in your heart just for Him and nothing, NOT-A-THING can fill it except His love and presence.
 
   You find that He loves us so much that He allows us to hurt as He too hurts.  All the while,we are growing closer and closer to finding Him and the solid, intimate, real, and raw relationship with Him we all long for. At times it takes tragedies and afflictions to come to Him, FINALLY, for healing, for anything because we find ourselves so lost and so broken. Yet, he was there all along knocking gently at your door. It just took a thunderstorm, tornado, and tsunami to knock down that guard gate and cement barrier we'd built up for so long, we couldn't ever hear Him. 


   So here you are now Tess, and this time you know not to build up any walls. Your house is open, free, and peaceful and when life hands you lemons, you'll be making lemonade..with Jesus.

                                 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My One.


Since I was a little girl I dreamt of the woman I'd become when I was "old". I would sit in the sun playing house with my dolls, my real purse, real stroller, real checkbook (voided of course), and real keys to my moms real car. An "old soul trapped in a little girls body". That's what I've always said about myself. Since I was a babe I wished and longed for the days when I was "older", married, and having what little girls experience in fairy tales, what I play pretended with Barbie and Ken, what I was blessed to see between my parents in a 'real life love story'. I couldn't stop myself from trying to imagine what he'd look like. Dark hair, beautiful light eyes, a smile that could melt you to the floor with, you know, "the one", my one, my one and only. 

That's all I had, a blurry vision of what I dreamt up with my imagination and longing heart. But God had something better. Something great, someone perfectly crafted just for me and I for him. I couldn't have dreamt up the guy I needed, the one who could never take His place but could take THAT special place in my heart. The place I'd felt beating and racing FINALLY when I saw Him, the one, my one, my one and only. I felt a part of myself growing, maybe it was the place he filled within me, encouraging me to grow in ways I hadn't ever before. I know one thing is for certain, he became a light in my life, the brightest light. God knew what He was doing and how He'd use this man in my life to keep molding and shaping me to be this woman I was meant to become, the woman I was created to be for "Him" and for "him". So for 21 years He held out waiting for the perfect time to introduce this bright and brilliant light into my life. I was ready to change, ready to pursue my relationship with my Lord and savior and finally in the right place where I could be capable of knowing what it meant to have a healthy, mature, adult relationship with a man He knew I'd be serious about. That's when everything changed, I changed. 

The first moment I heard his voice on the phone I knew I felt a spark inside. It was as if there was a glitch in my internal self that kept going off and I couldn't stop it. I got the guts to finally meet him. I went shopping, got dolled up, and grabbed my best gal to be my best wing man. The entire drive from Malibu to Hollywood I gushed to my wing man about feeling something real, something different for this guy, an unknown face, only a comforting but distant voice that quickly became so close even through a phone call away. After 2 weeks of conversing via telephone, 35 minutes and 28 miles away, I was going to see him, to lock eyes, and possibly touch. The feelings rushing through me could only be described as a thousand fire flies dancing in my stomach as if they had consumed ten 5 hour energy drinks, EACH! The closer we got to Hollywood, the more I could feel my heart palpitate as if it was coming through my chest. My hands and feet went cold as I glanced in the mirror ready to be face to face with this one special person. No one else mattered in that moment, I kicked one foot out as my heel touched the asphalt, I saw him

Walking across the street to greet one another felt like time had slowed, almost as though it froze. I was experiencing each deep inhale I took, every heart beat, and the way the city smelled like cigarettes and the nights dew. Yet, all the thoughts I had pondered on for weeks, fled my mind..the only thought I had was, this guy is CUTE! And that's what I said. Our first words in person, staring eye to eye, the words I had dwelled on and wondered about for 14 days, "what would I say", those oh so special first words, those words, were "your cute!" !? WHAT WAS I THINKING! WHAT CAME OVER ME! But it was perfect, he embraced me, he giggled coyly and was completely and utterly flattered. We locked eyes and couldn't pull away from each other. He too thought I was "cute". I stared deeply, becoming so quickly lost in his beautiful light eyes, just as I had imagined, but better. His eyes were like Hawaiian seas, a bluish green, and deep with depth. "Dark hair, beautiful light eyes, a smile that could melt you to the floor with, you know, "the one" I had hazily dreamt up? This was him, but even better. I could see he was nervous too. We hugged and "WE" felt safe, the nerves fled and I new I had met my match, my one, my one and only. And that's exactly what he became, and still is, from the moment I said those two words, "YOU'RE CUTE", we couldn't and wouldn't ever be apart. The man I dreamt of, the husband I stayed awake and played house imagining being married to, the charmer my mom and dad wanted their little girl to find, the prince I prayed for, for countless nights: Taylor Holland Armstrong, you are him, My one, and my only